Spirits of well-known patrons are still gazing
at the views, taste-testing drinks and enjoying the hotel amenities.
An employee tries to continue in service despite not having a real body.
This 1887 lovely, spacious 4 star luxury Victorian hotel is now owned by the Radisson Hotel chain. It has 134 rooms and suites, located in areas of the main building known as the Clubhouse, Annex and the three restored cottages: Sans Souci, Crane Cottage and Cherokee Cottage, which were built between 1896 and 1917.
1896 Sans Souci still has the original floors, leaded art glass, stairway and skylight.
1904 Italian Renaissance Cherokee Cottage features three arched double front doors, a light spacious great room and ten “accommodations.”
The largest and most lavish one is the 1917 Italian Renaissance Crane Cottage, which has a landscaped formal sunken garden with fountains and an upper terrace.
Tom and I stopped by and were wowed by the beauty and grandeur of this hotel and felt we had stepped back in time to a glorious era. This grand old hotel reminds me of the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego, which was built in 1888. The Jekyll Island Clubhouse was designed by Chicago native Charles Alexander, using the Queen Anne style. The Queen Anne turret “dominates the roofline”, and the asymmetrical designed building was given extensive verandas, bay windows, extended chimneys inside, Alexander used Ionic columns in the dining room, created 12 to 15 foot ceilings, oak wainscoting and other fine woodwork. No Queen Anne style structure would be complete without leaded art glass and 93 “distinctively detailed” fireplaces.
This resort hotel offers everything a person needs to relax, have fun and enjoy their holiday. The hotel even has a 3,700 foot airstrip for private planes. More than 50 activities are available for their guests’ amusement. All kinds of recreational opportunities are available. People can use the beautiful swimming pool, putting green, tournament level croquet lawn and rent bicycles. Tennis enthusiasts and golfers will be happy with nearby facilities. Fishing opportunities are close by.
This grand lady, the Jekyll Island Club Hotel, became a National Historic Landmark in 1978 and more recently was named a Historic Hotel of America by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The Jekyll Island Club was funded in 1885 by a group of founding members who invested in Newton Finney and his brother in-law’s ambitious plans to create the most exclusive hunting club and vacation site for very wealthy people. The original 53 investor/members, who worked in New York City, became part of the incorporated Jekyll Island Club which bought the whole island.
Those who enjoyed this exclusive hunting/vacation retreat included such important and influential business people such as J.P. Morgan, William Rockefeller, Joseph Pulitzer, George Baker and James Stillman, who also conducted business meetings here as well. Summers were spent here with their families in a state of lavish splendor.
Some families liked it so much that they built winter homes or “cottages” which housed entire families and their servants. For example, J.P. Morgan and two other families built Sans Souci in 1896, which consisted of six units, the first condos ever built in the United States.
While the Jekyll Island Club flourished into the 1930s, the Great Depression affected people’s priorities, values and fortunes, and half of the members dropped out. What finally closed its doors was World War 2. Afraid that enemy subs could lurk just off the coast of Jekyll Island, the federal government ordered the complete evacuation of the island for the duration of the war.
Then, in 1947, the state of Georgia bought the entire island for $675,000, and turned it into a public state park. Several old Jekyll Island Club properties, as well as the main building were made available as leased properties, and have been fully restored over the years. Other cottages were leased to private parties, and are not part of the current Jekyll Island Club Hotel.
The Jekyll Island Club Hotel may no longer be the exclusive playground of the very elite, but it is a luxury, high class, 4 star hotel which takes really good care of its guests. Some of the original members and former employees of the original, pre World War 2 Jekyll Island Club still enjoy this oasis as well, despite the fact that they are no longer alive!
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
J. Pierpont Morgan was one of three members who built Sans Souci. He and his family vacationed in one of the condo units, which had three stories. The third story had a lovely porch which offered a fantastic view of the Jekyll River, which was his favorite place to “have a quiet time of reflection.”
General Lloyd Aspinwall was one of the original investors/members of this exclusive hunting lodge/vacation paradise, and eagerly looked forward to being this club’s first president! Unfortunately, he died a year before The Jekyll Island Club opened.
Southern Railroad Company President, Samuel Spencer, who loved to stay at The Jekyll Island Club, requested that the Wall Street Journal be brought to his suite. Every morning, he would enjoy his coffee while reading his favorite newspaper. Unfortunately Samuel Spencer died before his time in 1906 when the Southern Railroad train he was riding on was hit by another Southern Railroad train which was coming in the opposite direction.
Employees were well-paid and appreciated by the clientele.
Sans Souci — The entity of J. Pierpont Morgan still enjoys to sit out on this third story porch early in the morning.
Morgan’s spirit still enjoys watching the Jekyll River, while smoking his favorite brand of cigars. Guests who get up early in the morning who stay in this condo can smell the cigar smoke.
The Aspinwall Room — The apparition of General Lloyd Aspinwall has been seen here.
When the Jekyll Island Club first opened, The Aspinwall Room was called the Riverfront Veranda, which has a glorious view of the inspiring surroundings. It is no wonder that the spirit of General Lloyd Aspinwall still walks along this area.
Spencer’s Suite — The entity of Samuel Spencer still enjoys the rooms of his suite, despite being dead.
This spirit has been known to help himself to guests’ coffee and likes to be aware of current events by reading their paper.
Unknown male entity who was a bell hop in the 1920s is still at work on the second floor of the main building.
The apparition of a male bell hop, dressed in a 1920 Jekyll Island Club cap and suit uniform has been known to knock on the doors of newly married couples on their honeymoon, and offers the groom a newly pressed suit before vanishing into thin air. Now that’s job dedication!
These well-mannered entities still enjoy this piece of heaven that they retreated to when alive.
371 Riverview Drive
Jekyll Island, Georgia 31527
Jekyll Island Club Hotel is located in a truly beautiful spot on Jekyll Island, with a glorious view of the Jekyll River and the lovely surroundings! The Hotel’s river front pavilion is the perfect invitation “to relax and enjoy Jekyll Island’s ten mile expanse of sandy beaches.”
- The National Directory of Haunted Places
by Dennis William Hauck
The Penguin Group